Op Ed: Review of the Harbinger Raid
I know some are not going to agree with this Opinion, but I really enjoyed this Raid. Let's analyze the raid and see how it breaks down.
The raid used the Level split we are all getting used to now. I have liked the level 100 split and it has been a boon to lower levels that can't compete against the upper echelon. This allows for lower damage point totals for the Littles and more and better rewards for the Bigs.
The big news this raid was the additions. For starters, we now have Avatar items actually affect the people we are fighting. Your Aura you can get in the Avatar store made a wonderful addition. Most of the Auras cost a MP amount, but there are two available for free no matter which body type you chose, male or female - Purple and green. If you had an Aura on your toon avatar, it lowered the bosses resistance to your types of attacks. So while the Harbinger had a High Resistance to all the core types, your aura reduced that protection.
I look forward to other types of Avatar items helping in battles in the future. Maybe the next boss will be allergic to animals and your Pet affects him/her!
Poison and bleed finally was made useful against the Raid boss. It still only hit occasionally, but the extra damage is always nice.
A really big change was in the ability to alter the weakness of the raid boss by working together with others. The more damage the Boss took of a certain type, then the boss would suddenly become weak to that type of damage for a short period of time. So if you and your league mates all decided to gang up on the boss and hit with Supernatural damage, the boss would become weak to Supernatural and you can then all pile on for higher damage results.
This also meant that Alts had a new benefit. Let's say your main account uses Magic core and is built to do a lot of magic damage. If you have 3 alts that are also set to magic, you can send them in ahead of you, beat him up with lots of magic attacks, and when the Boss Weakness changes to Magic, you can switch to your main account and beat the living crap out of him with the extra boost to your Magic damage type. Your alts wont get as high of damage, but it allows your main to get some extra damage.
Those who use several Alts can increase this even further. If you have 6 main Alts, each specializing in a Core type, you can have an army of lower alts switch all to Magic, Supernatural, or Elemental, etc. for a quick pile on. As soon as it turns to the Core Weakness you want, you switch to your Alt who specializes in that Core. When the weakness is over, you can use your lower alts to work ont he next damage type and do it all over again with the next Core.
Using your consumables to maximum effect is crucial here. Save your More Fun bars on your Main Alt until the weakness is ready, then hit as much as you can, refill your energy, and do it again. These damage type weakness are short-lived, so be ready to hit hard and fast for several minutes.
Finally, new gear types showed up for this raid. Back pieces came back which is nice. One of the pieces was seen earlier during the scrap heap scrounge we did. It isn't the best of the back gear that had been available, but it worked great for a Raid Reward. The other back piece was brand new and gave a nice bonus to Block, while the other gave a binus to Move - both giving a plus of 1200.
But the really exciting piece of equipment was the Sidekick. Two robot sidekicks were added to the reward list - The Scrap Mech and the Green Machine. The Green Machine is the lesser of the two, but it does offer a bonus to the Stun ability, something I never look down on. The Scrap Mech is the gold medal though, as it has a Strike bonus of 2300, tech damage, and even a boost to playing pinball.
Will these new sidekicks have any other benefits besides adding the bonuses? We don't know yet. Nick hinted there may be some animation eventually on the battle screen. I would like to see the Sidekick stand at your feet like a pet and shoots from there. But the bonuses of these two don't seem to go along with that. What is really cool, is that Nick already has animation for both of these mechs in his other game, Mecha Galaxy. These are both types of mechs you can buy and use early on in the Mecha game. The Scrap Mech is known there as the Banshee, and the Green Machine calles Holmes. The Holmes there is an essential mech for low levels to have until the bigger, heavier mechs kick in. I really like seeing the two games mix like this. It has done it before in small ways, but this is a much cooler mix.
I will note here that the Damage requirement to earn the Back and Sidekicks were lower than previous raids. It was still only a 1% chance per damage level, but the lower requirement made it slightly easier to earn than in the past. This is where I think some will disagree with me on this raid, but I was happy that the developers have listened to the masses and changed up the gear rewards, made them better, and made them easier to earn. Is it perfect, no. But it is certainly a step in the right direction.
Where will future raids take us? The ability to use avatar items to change the game is a very welcome addition. Being able to alter the weaknesses of the Boss is a Game Changer. New Gear that could eventually be involved in actual battle is awesome. I look forward to seeing where we go from here.
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